#twitterblackout today January 28 2012

Since i am off twitter today, i figured i would blog a little in a bit more than 140 chars. So here we go. Twitter is a great way of active social interaction between people, even between people from a very divers cultural and geographic backgrounds. Add to that, that this cultural interaction takes place in a very public space that is equally available directly to the "followers" of the individuals taking place in the exchange of ideas, it is also equally available to many more through the hash tags that these idea exchanges may contain, and are searchable for everyone.

So twitter decides to apply censorship to some of these tweets...based upon the requests of governments of countries that don't like these tweets being said in their countries. The pressure being applied against twitter's own employees who may happen to be in those countries.

and twitter, knowing that censorship is a matter that won't bear much fruit with it's users, tries to soften the blow by saying that you can change your profile to "worldwide" and then the redacted tweets would be visible again. not true, mainly because that setting will not save for some reason. You actually have to change your profile setting to a country that does not request the same set of tweets being redacted, or does not request censorship at all. And that leaves free speech hanging by a very thin thread, if you get my slant.

Free speech, as it seems many forget, is not about the speech you like and approve of. It is about the speech you don't like and disapprove of. It's about having that particular speech heard, examined, accepted or refuted. Did you notice the absence of redacted and muzzled. That is what a social and cultural interaction is all about. And censorship is absolutely corrosive to this interaction.

What twitter may not have realized, is that, by applying censorship, they may well have initiated a downward trend in their own popularity that will ultimately lead to twitter becoming a much less important and popular forum for open social and cultural exchange. The very thing, i think made twitter the amazing service that it was, the open and unhindered exchange of social and cultural ideas, is being severely hampered and degraded.

So as a conclusion, if everyone just balked, even a little bit, on the question of free speech, how long do you think it will take for complete censorship to fully prevail, and no one would be able to say anything but praise the leader of an oppressive regime. Just think of north Korea, it could not have gotten there with free speech intact.

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